The renaissance of the Detroit riverfront is one of the success stories the beleaguered city can point to as a foundation for the future. Now Port Huron, the first international border crossing north of Detroit, can also boast of their own revitalization. Yesterday the city held a private ribbon-cutting ceremony for three of the four planned businesses forming the heart of the resurgence.
Approximately 300 business and government leaders attended the Friday event celebrating the successful private-public partnership. The project that has already brought hundreds of jobs and new opportunity to the community with hundreds more to come.
The $24-million project comprises the new Baker College of Port Huron’s Culinary Institute of Michigan, the DoubleTree by Hilton Port Huron, Freighters Eatery and Taproom. Still to come is the 40,000-square-foot Blue Water Area Convention Center scheduled to be complete by 2015.
Friday was the first viewing of the 23,000-square-foot Culinary Institute of Michigan built specifically for study of the culinary arts and facilitating the open-kitchen concept of European-style training and cooking. It includes seven kitchens and opens for fall-quarter classes Monday, Sept. 30.
The 149-room DoubleTree hotel, including a ballroom and 9,800 square feet of meeting space and Freighters, with a 230-seat dining room, 21-seat bar and an outdoor patio, opened last month.
The complex is located in the Blue Water Area in Port Huron, on the shore of the St. Clair River at the base of Lake Huron.
The project was co-developed by Meritage Hospitality Group and Orion II Construction in a public/private partnership involving the USDA Rural Development, City of Port Huron, St. Clair County, private investors and Baker College of Port Huron.
The convention center, hotel, restaurant and culinary school are expected to generate a $25-million annual boost to the local economy over the first ten years of operation.
Representatives from Baker College, the DoubleTree hotel, Freighters, local, county and state government officials and others involved this phase of the development provided remarks and cut the ribbon today.
Gerry Kramer, owner/broker of Kramer Commercial Realty, served as emcee. Scheduled speakers included:
- Jeff Bohm, Chairperson, St. Clair County Board of Commissioners
- Pauline Repp, Mayor of Port Huron
- James J. Turner, USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan
- Dr. Connie Harrison, President, Baker College of Port Huron
- Gary Rose, Chief Operating Officer, Meritage Hospitality Group
- Randy Romero, Director of Brand Support, DoubleTree/Hilton Worldwide
- John Wheeler, Managing Partner, JB Development Company and partner of Orion II Construction
Joining them for ribbon-cutting honors were:
- Thomas Recinella, CEC®, ACE, AAC®, director of the culinary arts and food and beverage management programs, Baker College of Port Huron’s Culinary Institute of Michigan
- John Kuithe, general manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Port Huron
- Angela Mann, vice president of operations, Hospitality Specialists
As a result of this project, a newly dedicated exit ramp from Interstate 69 was constructed, providing direct access to the property for guests traveling between the U.S. and Canada.
© Max Impact, used with permission.
Helpful article series
- 7 Deadly sins of signage.
- 5 Deadly small business mistakes.
- Top tips for using Linked In- a series of the top three best practices for using Linked In to build business.
- Top marketing mistakes- includes a humorous video of leading marketing mistakes.
- Differentiate the right way- a series of articles about best practices in attracting customers.
Business development by the numbers
- 60 Insights for Mastering Business Development.
- 8 Pillars of Career and Business Success.
- 5 Kick-A** Strategies Every Business Needs: to explode sales, stun the competition, wow customers and achieve exponential growth.
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow them and people will follow you.
- The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan: How to take charge, build your team, and get immediate results